Let’s talk about relationships.
I inadvertently created quite a stir the other day when I set my Facebook relationship status as single. Readers bombarded me with questions, but there’s no story to tell. I was going through the profile settings, setting my hometown, adding siblings, etc and the relationship status was there, too, so I set it to what it is, which is single. Simple as that. Everybody just calm down.
But I am coming off a long relationship. Six years, in fact. Great years. Its end is still fresh, and I don’t know when I’ll be able to make that level of a commitment again, if ever.
I’m referring to TV, of course. This isn’t the time or place to rehash my feelings about the way Lost ended. But the end of one relationship naturally leads to thoughts about the next one, so the question is posed: Will I ever be as into another television show as I was into Lost?
I got to thinking about this when a co-worker sent me a link to the trailer for one of NBC’s new fall dramas titled “The Event.” It is a great preview, but my first reaction was, “Maybe if it were a movie I’d watch. I don’t know if I want to be strung along for another six years again.” I tried starting a new TV relationship even before Lost went off the air. (That’s okay to do in television show relationships because TV shows aren’t people who have feelings.) I became a fan of ABC’s Flash Forward, but the network yanked it away after its only season. Really, I’m pretty much over that. Fox has J.J. Abrams’s Fringe trying to reel me in, but it has been too up and down to want to give it any serious commitment of time and thought. In Fringe’s case, we stick together because it can be fun sometimes, but if the show and I are honest with each other, neither of us is really excited about us being together.
Critics and people who get to see TV shows before the rest of us gave (cursed?) both of these shows – along with V and maybe one or two others – the tag of being a possible successor to Lost before they ever went on the air. None of them have been able to live up to it, but a classic relationship line may apply: It’s not you, it’s me.
Their failure may be the fault of viewers like me who aren’t ready to make a multi-season investment in a new TV show. I’ll tell any network execs reading this that I am not in a place to watch one episode of a show and not learn what it was really about until four years later, as was sometimes the case with Lost. I don’t expect “the event” to be revealed in the fifth episode of “The Event,” but I do expect to be told what the hell is going on in an upfront and honest way. If the writers try to pull the same shady trickeries that Damon and Carlton did, I’m changing the channel before you can say women can’t have babies on the island. Lost was that one that may only come along once in a lifetime. As a viewer you recognize that and you commit to going that extra mile to stick with it. Barely one month removed from its end, it’s hard to picture myself being willing to do that again.
All of that assumes that I even want a new long-term TV relationship. Maybe I just want something nice, light and simple. I watched an episode of Criminal Minds last week and you know what? I liked it. It entertained me. I might even watch it again, and if I still like it, I’ll watch it some more. How do you like that?
Maybe Facebook is onto something when it lets you set your relationship status to “It’s complicated.”